Amber: The Next Generation

GM Notes - Episode 1

Being the public rantings and notes of the everyone-who-is-not-PCs

Episode 1 was mainly character creation. For those who don’t know, Amber is a diceless game, and you have a limited number of points that you can spend on attributes, powers, and things, with the ability to over-spend and go into karmic debt, or underspend and be lucky.

I did a quick explanation of the rules, for those who hadn’t read them, but the combo of the rulebook and the unique setting meant people were a little unsure. If I wanted to improve that, I’d pre-prepare a setting guide. However, the best way to deal with it would be to make sure everyone had read the appropriate bits of the rulebook before we started. In this case, I was making an intro game, so I didn’t force that.

I messed with the rules a bit, and used a mechanism called ‘pit of vipers’ where after everything else is done, you get to award downgradings and upgradings to other people. I could have refined that by drawing names from a hat to ensure that everyone was supported and pummelled equally. Some people were hit harder than others. I was expecting a short campaign, in which I needed to get RP hooks in quickly, so the unfairness of that would not have a long time to congeal. For a longer campaign, it would definitely be best to draw names randomly, both to ensure points fairness, and to make sure that hatreds and friendships were not restricted to people who were sitting next to each other. The Pit of Vipers is not a part of the core rules, but it did shape our intro, and I think it was a net gain. I could do that better.

We had a short game, and one of the PCs didn’t like what he had built and how it worked in the world. We put that aside to deal with the next week.


An alternative to fairness would be to compensate characters hit harder than average with good stuff (or less bad stuff).
Random allocation would have the advantage that each character is likely to have hit or been hit by each of the other characters in some way.
My character was fairly treated (1 bonus and 2 malus), but had no relation at all with one of the characters – it’s easier to take revenge on those who wronged you and help those who helped you than to remember to establish a relationship with everyone.
IC, the malus that was most traumatic was not the same malus that was most damaging OOC to the character sheet.
Overall it was good to shape and colour relationships between the characters, if I was doing it again I’d have given the final malus to the character I had no relationship with, not the one who’d shown me the most recent malice.

GM Notes - Episode 1

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